John A. Macdonald statue vandal says he painted Regina monument as a 'peaceful protest'
Patrick Johnson has been charged with mischief under $5,000
Patrick Johnson said he wouldn't describe his painting of the John A. Macdonald statue in Regina as vandalism. To him, it's a statement.
Johnson, a white man from Vibank, Sask., said he painted the statue's hands red to symbolize the blood he said is on Macdonald's hands. Johnson said he was fully aware that his actions could come with consequences — he said he plans to plead guilty to a mischief charge stemming from the painting — but that he wanted to open the conversation and "bring attention to the ongoing plight of First Nations people in Canada."
"I wanted to correct the history of the moment and of also the space," he said.
"I wanted to create a safe space for which people of all races could come to without seeing a symbol of their oppression."
According to Johnson, this is not the first time he has vandalized the statue, which stands in Victoria Park. He said he also painted it after the verdict in Gerald Stanley's trial.
Johnson, a musician, said he didn't have specific goals or issues he hoped would come to light from his actions.
"Canadians need to be concerned that there are people that do not have enough to live a decent life and [Canadians] need to get involved and contact their government with their concern over this," he said.
As for why he's come forward, Johnson wanted the community to know it wasn't just a group of kids pulling a prank.
"I did want to come forward and stand in the light and show that it was a member of the community that was concerned about this and that it wasn't just a fly-by-night vandalism thing."
As for his method, Johnson said the statue being a piece of public art allowed for a clear, concise message.
"In a way, it's a reclamation of that space."